The New England Colonies

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What's a key similarity between the Chesapeake and New England British colonies from 1607 to 1754?

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One important similarity between the British New England colonies and the British colonies in the Chesapeake region was that both groups strongly believed in their superiority to Native Americans.

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A similarity shared between the British New England colonies and the British colonies in the Chesapeake region, such as Maryland and Virgina, was the British colonists' conviction of their cultural superiority to the Native Americans they encountered.

Both groups of colonists very much wanted to preserve their English distinctives in the New World. They wished to transport their way of life to a new continent. Whether it made the best practical sense or not, the colonists desired to build English-style houses, farm in the English fashion, build English villages, and wear English-style clothing. At times this was ludicrous: English colonists, for example, in St. Mary's in southern Maryland, insisted on wearing their heavy woolen clothing in brutal summer heat and humidity.

The British belief in their immense cultural superiority led to cultural insensitivity toward Native Americans, who the British colonists in both regions "othered" and treated as childlike inferiors. Only when their own situations were desperate were the British willing to learn from the Native Americans, who they otherwise regarding as savages. Fear of the natives led to a fortress mentality, in which the British saw them solely as enemies who, in many cases, needed to be eradicated to allow a "superior" culture to thrive. Lack of cultural sensitivity made it possible for the colonists in both areas to ignore Native American ideas about communal land ownership and use, and therefore, to steal native lands that to the British appeared unoccupied.

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Both regions made money from shipping--New England was a supplier of timber and fish while the Chesapeake was known for its tobacco. The shipping industry would turn Boston and Baltimore into major colonial cities. Both regions also had slavery before the American Revolution. Slavery would eventually prove to be more important to the Chesapeake region as it needed manpower to grow tobacco. Many in New England also used slaves as house servants.

Both regions would be hard-hit by disease and starvation. The early Pilgrims were nearly wiped out during their first winter in the New World. The settlers of Jamestown faced starvation and malaria. Both regions also had problems with Native Americans. Virginia settlers fought against the Powhatan Confederacy and New England settlers fought King Philip's War against Metacom. Both of these wars were rooted in European encroachment on native lands.

While the regions were quite different in terms of the nature of settlement and the purpose of colonization, hardship and commerce were two things that New England and the Chesapeake region had in common.

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One important similarity between the British colonies in the Chesapeake region and those of New England was the fact that both nearly failed. Britain's first colony on Roanoke Island (1587–1590) had disappeared, so establishing a viable colony in North America was a formidable task.

In 1607, the first settlers reached Chesapeake Bay and founded Jamestown. Many of them had expected to find gold and become rich as the Spanish had done in Central and South America. Few colonists had the survival skills that they needed. Only 38 of 105 settlers survived the first year. By 1610, the colonists were prepared to give up and return to Britain. But ships carrying supplies arrived and the colony was saved.

In 1620, the Pilgrims landed in what eventually became Massachusetts. The Mayflower had tried to land in Virginia but went off course, and that was their first problem. Almost half died during the first New England winter. Then Squanto, a local Indian, taught them how to grow maize and catch fish. The survival skills he taught the Pilgrims were invaluable. Thankful Pilgrims then held the first Thanksgiving.

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The British had colonies throughout North America, including those in the New England and the Chesapeake regions. There were some similarities of the colonies in both of these regions. One similarity was the jobs. The main jobs of the people in the New England region included manufacturing, fishing, lumbering, and shipping. There also was some farming in the New England colonies. In the Chesapeake colonies closer to New England there was more manufacturing and trade. In those colonies further to the south, there was more farming due to the fertile soil and a mild climate.

Another similarity is that these colonies were founded, in part, by people who wanted to practice their religion freely. While there was more religious tolerance in the Chesapeake colonies, people came to these regions to escape religious persecution in Europe. The colonies in both regions also faced hardships when they were first established. These hardships included dealing with harsh winters and diseases.

There were similarities between the New England and the Chesapeake colonies.

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The New England and Chesapeake colonies had many differences.  They did, however, share some similarities.  

Both were settled by British citizens who adhered to a Christian faith.  The Pilgrims were Separatists, and they settled in Massachusetts.  Puritans later settled in New England.  The Chesapeake colonists were mostly members of the Church of England.

Colonists in both regions built towns filled with houses, stores, and institutions.  Cities such as Boston and Williamsburg were built.  Commerce was important in both regions, and goods were shipped from England to sell in colonial shops.  Colonists from both New England and the Chesapeake region established towns and cities near bays and the Atlantic Ocean.  This allowed cities and towns to be easily accessible by ship.

Colonists from both regions farmed to maintain food supplies.  Farming was more prevalent in the Chesapeake region due to the fertile soil and longer growing season.  New England colonists farmed, but their long winters and rocky soil sometimes made growing crops difficult.

Disease was a hardship that colonists from both regions faced.  Diseases often spread through towns and cities.  Disease killed many early settlers in both Jamestown and Plymouth Colony.

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